Chemical Foodborne Illness

Chemical food poisoning can occur when poisons or chemicals are accidentally added to food.

Examples of chemicals that can contaminate food are pest control sprays, cleaners or food additives.

Vomiting usually occurs very quickly after eating the poison (within 1 hour). The body will immediately reject the chemical or poison.

It is very important to label and store pest control sprays and cleaners in compartments separate from food. If your space is limited, make sure chemicals are properly labeled and stored below food to prevent spillage into the food.

  • Always store chemicals in their original containers or in properly labeled containers. Never use containers with food labels for chemicals as people may mistakenly think the chemical is a food product.
  • Store acidic foods in plastic containers. If acidic foods are stored in metal containers (after opening) then the metals can leach out into the food. Examples of acidic foods: tomatoes, sauerkraut, lemonade, fruit gelatins etc.
  • Always use food additives (for example: MSG or Monosodium glutamate) and preservatives (for example: sulfate, sulfite, nitrates, nitrites) in moderation and for certain purposes only. If these items are used in other ways, they can make people sick.
  • Store pesticides away from food, food packaging, utensils, equipment, etc. Allow only trained professionals to apply pesticides in a food premise. Properly wash all fruits and vegetables before use.

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